15 Things I’ve Learned In 15 (and a bit) Months of Premium Plugin Development

So it’s just over a year since I launched WP Email Capture Premium. Already it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done online, providing me with a decent part time income over the last 15 months, as well as opened some pretty big doors for me. Largely through my own personal work I’ve become recognised a lot more as a WordPress developer, which is very nice.

However the last 15 months has been a bit of a learning curve in doing business with my code. There have been highs (the 5 sales in an hour day I had earlier on this year which saw me text a friend absolutely gushing with a grin the size of a Cheshire Cat), and lows. In short, these are the 15 things I’ve learned about WordPress Plugin Development.

1. Aim To Be the Best in The World At One Thing

If you’re getting into Premium Plugin, you will be starting off working on your own, and as such, you are one man or woman. Here’s the thing, you cannot be all things to all men. But you can be the go-to guy for one thing.

Am I going to say that WP Email Capture is the best WordPress Email Marketing Plugin? No, of course not. However I can confidently say that in the past year I have encountered one marketing service it doesn’t integrate with, and I’m spending some of my Christmas holidays making it so. WP Email Capture provides a solution to those who haven’t yet committed to an email marketing solution.

Get your Unique Selling Point, your elevator pitch, and stick to it. It may not come straight away, it may not be you who comes up with it (I found out mine when Jake Caputo was on the WP Candy Podcast), but it will come, and that is what you need to use to promote your plugin.

2. Added Features on Free will always beat Restricted Free

Often I see people make plugins and then remove functionality that was previously free to charge for it. Generally that is a pretty bad thing as you cause mistrust amongst your current, loyal plugin users. Instead I recommend developing features on top of your current plugin.

Often users will suggest ways of improving plugins, so if they come up with ideas for your premium plugin, use them.

3. Customer Service Is Too Important To Outsource

To borrow a phrase used in article shared by Pippin Williamson (which I cannot find): “Customer Support Is Too Important To Outsource ”.

I said to myself would be that I’d provide the best support as I possibly can for my plugin. It shouldn’t fail, but if it does, I’ll be there to fix it.

At first, I hated it, answering a bunch of queries which were largely the same. It was dull, dour and not the best use of my time. And then I wrote a FAQ page and most of the queries were stopped, and then I streamlined the channels so that support would come through a ticketing system if you were a premium subscriber, and the WordPress Support Forum if you were a free user of my plugin. Then it became easier, and the questions I answered got a lot easier and more interesting. I all of a sudden enjoyed providing support, and it began to show as one word answers were now getting longer form answers, as it was important to me to as well fixing the users’ problems, to also explain why they were having this issue. Nobody knew my plugin better than I did.

It showed as well, as people did notice. Often people thank me for timely support and I get emails such as this:-


People were happy with their purchase, and people who weren’t happy with the purchase were happy with the support that made them happy with their purchase, which is great!

4. Success Happens Quietly, Failure Happens in Full View

At the moment, WP Email Capture premium has had just short of 200 sales, with support tickets hovering somewhere around the 80 mark. In short, the majority of my customers I’ve not spoken to. I’ve no idea If they like the plugin or not. I assume they do, as they haven’t taken advantage of the refund offer I have and the open rate of the buyers newsletter (which tells premium users that there is a new version of the plugin available) is over 75%. But beyond that, I know very little.

Incidentally, the first buyers newsletter where I specifically ask for feedback – a “State of the WP Email Capture” – will be sent in the next week or so.

However, success is quite quiet. Failure on the other hand is usually quite open.

Disgruntled users are often quick to complain that a plugin doesn’t do what they think it should, which hurts a bit.

This leads me onto the next point though.

5. Customers are not Clients

This is quite a big one for me.

You see, even though I am thankful for buyers, I’m not completely at their beck and call for them. Would you expect J.K. Rowling to write your wedding invitations because you purchased a Harry Potter book? Not really.

I have suffered some quite hurtful comments when users send over support requests, often due to them not reading documentation or (in one case) choosing to ignore it.

These are customers, and are not clients. I haven’t any contract between them, so often with these people I give a refund. You shouldn’t put up with hours of work, often with little or no reward, for the price of a plugin.

I should point out that 99.99% of customers are wonderful, and you will not have any problems.

And free users? Well I’ve already gone on record with what I think to people who are quite rude when requesting free support. I’ve no problems telling them well to go (and have done so in the last week). I’m not like this with everybody, and am usually quite helpful. But if you don’t treat me with respect then don’t expect me to help you.

6. Problems Working With Clients Are Easy To Deal With When You Have Customers

One of the best things about working with customers over clients is that issues for clients which are disastrous, are actually largely okay with customers.

Take for example the world’s worst form of feedback: “It’s buggy”. If a client came back to you and said that, then all of a sudden it becomes an issue you have to deal with.

However, I had a customer say the plugin was “buggy”. Turns out the WordPress version he was on was on 2.8.1, and my plugin was incompatible. After explaining this and explaining that his version was old, he upgraded and apologised.

7. When Securing Your Social Profiles, Don’t use “Coming Soon”.

Otherwise you end up with this, 15 months after launch……

15 months promotion

8. Get a Good Accountant the Second You Become Moderately Successful

Just trust me on this one.

9. Get Good At Marketing (or outsource it)

WP Email Capture was a remotely successful plugin when I started development on the premium version (20k ish downloads? Around that.) and when I released the plugin I had 2 sales on the first day, and then one sale the day after, and then it slowly died down.

Fact was, I had to start marketing it. Both of those sales days paled in comparison from when I was devoting 100% of my free time on developing and marketing the plugin. An interview on WP Daily (now torquemag) got me 4 sales in 1 day. I know correlation doesn’t mean causation, but it was nice.

In short, nobody cares about your plugin. Participate in the community, think about your audience, and get scribbling. Take every opportunity you can. Some will take off, some won’t (more on that a little later). But you need to be a good marketer, the “build it and they will come” mentality is rather dead, unfortunately.

10. Start Building Your List Yesterday

One of the best ways to market your plugin is by building your list.

If nothing else, even if you have nothing else, have a page on your site dedicated to your plugin, and stick a box on it to encourage signups: Mailchimp is free and good enough, Aweber is good as it’ll kick your arse into finishing the damn thing as you’re paying for it, Mailpoet is awesome if you’re on a dedicated server. Forget any of the top CRO tips out there, releasing a plugin has been the singularly best way to build an email list.

And if you cannot find a system for building your list, just install my plugin and you’ll come back to it later :).

11. Don’t Worry Too Much About Your Blog

WP Email Capture’s blog is rather quiet. In fact, except for plugin updates and a few recent guest posts, it’s rather dead.

I’m looking into improving it with guest posting and maybe just commissioning a few articles, but that is way down the list. By and large though having a quiet blog hasn’t really affected traffic to the site.

Do rudimentary content marketing (i.e. search for your brand name on Google and see what other searches appear, write a blog post about each of those searches), but other than that it’s quite sufficient as is.

12. Nobody Cares About Your Affiliate Programme

This was one of those things that I thought would take off but didn’t. Fact is, you can have generous commission structures, but nobody really cares too much about your affiliate programme. One guy is making a decent amount on the WP Email Capture affiliate programme (~$100/month), and that’s it. I think I’ve had about 20 people sign up for it.

Affiliate programmes, as well as  your actual site, requires work. See if you can get a few people interested, but don’t worry too much about it.

13. Don’t Stop Free Development

One thing I was key on doing is not stopping free development, and it has benefited the plugin in a few ways.

First of all is the nice rush of downloads whenever there is a new version of WP Email Capture released, many of these are old customers updating the plugin, but many are new users. Users can turn into customers.

Secondly by getting new people looking at the plugin in itself can get ideas for added features, this is handy in increasing the value of your plugin. Though what I do is that if anybody suggests a feature, I will aim to make it either freely available or added in such a way that basic functionality is available for free.

14. Competitions are worthless if you’re not running them (or setting the rules a little bit).

One thing I don’t really understand too much but are popular are competitions. You know the score, a website will come to you, and ask if they can run a competition on your behalf. If the competition is “Retweet this for a chance to win!”, what they usually get is the following:-

  • More twitter followers.
  • Twitter retweets and increased exposure.
  • A copy of the plugin (which I am not too bothered with).

And you get is usually nothing. Exposure wise it’s minimal for you (people who enter competitions are not usually buyers), furthermore you don’t even get a link to your site, as the link is usually an affiliate link.

Personally, I’m not a fan, and I’ve never made a sale from a competition.

I’m not saying that competition are a rubbish way to get exposure, but you need to help run it. Make sure one of the entrance conditions is to follow you. A service like Rafflecopter make this quite easy. Alternatively run the competition yourself, and therefore get all the benefit. That will work.

15. Do it! You don’t suck as much as you think!

This is the key thing for me. I’m an okay coder. I’m not great, but can code to decent WordPress standards and my code is usually functional and works well. You are probably similar. Trust me, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

We Need To Talk About Alan

Alan came into my life about a week or so ago. A message to Retro Garden – my retro gaming blog – landed in my inbox.

Alan’s email came from a generic Gmail address, but seemed to show passion for retro gaming, his avatar of the Psygnosis Owl that also stood him out from other people who are primarily looking for something. Also, something about his message was different to me. He seemingly broke all ten of the “how to pitch to bloggers” tips you see circulating on SEO Marketing Blogs. So I took my chance with him, half expecting an email back with a generic post embedded with links, that wouldn’t fit into my site.

However, Alan’s posts were superb. Well written, long pieces that showed a deep understanding of the genre. They were either fantastically well researched or they were games he played. One thing was noticeably missing from the posts, a link. Alan didn’t want a single bit of accreditation for the post. A bunch of emails back and forth (mainly my guilt trip) established that he was a chiptuner – a sub genre of electronic dance music that uses the original hardware to make tunes, so I linked to some of his work. It’s only polite.

So yes, as many of you who read this post do some sort of blogger outreach, let it be known is this is what you are up against. My blog is decent, though isn’t huge, but still get a fair amount of traffic to it and is one of those sites that gets a fair amount of requests. In fact in the past week this is what I get for Retro Garden (offers that generated a response are starred):-

  • Alan’s email*
  • 3 press releases for various Computer related stuff in the UK.
  • 5 press releases for gambling.
  • 1 Pitch to Alpha Test a PC game on Kickstarter*
  • 10 press releases for gardening equipment.
  • 16 RIMjobs – RIMjobs stands for “Relevant & Informative” Marketing Jobs. Poorly worded guest post pitches that contains the words “relevant & informative”, two words that make me close your guest post pitch quicker than a door on a double glazing salesman.
  • An unsolicited guest post on “When You Should Plant Petunias In Your Garden?” (seriously)
  • A request for a paid placement on the site*

Alan’s post you may think are one offs but it’s not the case, there are plenty of writers, particularly in fun niches, who are just looking to write out there. Often these are more attractive than your pitches.

As such, if you’re pitching to me, that is what you need to stand out from, and many other bloggers are the same. Quite a lot, in all honesty. So how do you do it? Well in short it is adhering to three simple rules.

It’s About Me

The amount of people who pitch their content to me like it the literary bastard child of Harry Potter, The Art of War and The fucking Bible is unbelievable. Also they focus on themselves, or their client, like I should be grateful that I’m being even graced with an email from them.

They then usually use the RIMjob phrase of “relevant and informative” as a way to describe their latest scribbling.

Newsflash for you folks: a “informative and relevant” piece of work is all relative. What you may have slaved over for the morning I may not like. Second newsflash for you: many “informative” blog posts are in fact not going on blogs designed to inform, but rather opinion pieces. Reviews are opinion pieces. I’ve never played more than the first 2 Grand Theft Auto games because I’m not a huge fan of them. I’ve also never played Resident Evil too. That’s not saying they’re bad games, just I’m not a fan of the genre or the game play or whatever. That is just my opinion. Retro Garden is 90% reviews.

I can understand why you are shying away from “opinion pieces”. They are controversial and could land you in hot water with the client. Try and think of offering your opinion rather than just a bland piece, maybe if you can get your client involved. Then, and only then pitch an “informative” piece. Pitch to me with the knowledge Retro Garden I have had probably only one real “informative” guest post, and that was a guy who tore apart a Japanese Super Famicom for a guest post. Unless you’re willing to go to similar lengths (and expense!), then it’s probably not a good idea to pitch an “informative piece” to me.

tl;dr: Read the guidelines, before kissing my arse & telling me it tastes of ice cream. You need to prove to me why I should give you an opportunity. Selling your content like my blog is worse off without it isn’t one of those things. Pitch ideas!

But Don’t Lie or Patronise To Me

This is a big one for me.

Look, I know why you are contacting me. I know why you are after giving me content, but don’t pretend it’s “just a little link”, don’t pretend you “are after editorial exposure”, and – worst of all to me – don’t pretend you’re a woman. I grew out of speaking to pretend women on the internet when Yahoo! Chat folded.

Be honest with me. That’s all. A bare faced liar annoys me. Don’t expect me to do work for free either.

tl;dr: Tell me who you are, tell me what you are offering, tell me what you want.

Make It As Damn Easy As Possible

This is the final thing about me – I’m lazy.

Yes, shock horror! But lazy isn’t a bad thing. Lazy people as pointed out by Bill Gates are the sort of people who find an easy way to do a hard job. I’m of the opinion that I spend 2 hours finding a way to do a 4 hour job in an hour is a good use of time.

As such, when it comes to running my site, I want the maximum results for as little as effort as possible. You may write the greatest analysis of a video game ever, but if I’m chasing you for images and corrections, then I’m unlikely to post it. It’s shocking as well how many times people don’t read the guidelines as well. Often (at least with me) guidelines are laid out on the “write for us” page usually, so if you don’t follow them, then don’t expect me to be very forthcoming with a response.

Final point about this – I’ve a lot of sites, some still going, some dead. Many use the same email address. If you contact me with an email saying “I want to guest post for your site”, at lease name the site as well!

tl;dr: Don’t make me work for your guest post. Trust me, I probably won’t bother.

I may come across as a bit of a dick with this (which is something I admit), but as a site owner, I get frustrated when marketers come to me peddling the same cookie cutter emails (often they are RIMjobs) for responses.

I know this isn’t everybody, and actually I’m quite open to many pitches. Furthermore I’m not the greatest outreacher in the world (there are so many more talented people than me at this!). Please just be honest, explain what you are going to do, work hard and butter my ego. It’s not that difficult, trust me!

Top 3 Best Quiz Machine Games Ever

If you remember back to my Goals of 2013, one of my goals is to save a bit of cash. This manifested this month with my monthly challenge of giving myself a cash amount for what I will save. One way I’m doing this is by avoiding fruit machines (yeah it’s a habit I’ve kinda dabbled in since my University days), and instead, when bored, playing on quiz machines instead.

In truth, I’ve always liked a dabble on quizzers in my time, a small guilty pleasure with my pint. In fact I’ve probably played most games on quizzers during my time spent in pubs, so I’d like to think I’m pretty good at them, and know what makes a good game. As such, here’s my three favourite quiz machine games ever.


3. Monopoly: Streets Ahead

You’ll notice a theme with all games on this list, in that they have a fairly defined end game. Games such as Cluedo you can play for hours because the machine will eventually screw you over, rolling numbers on your dice that will miss all the good squares. Monopoly is another game, with early versions not even telling you the points you have to reach before the cash prize.

Monopoly: Streets Ahead though is one game that takes the classic Monopoly and provides you with an end game. For one, they get rid of the dice entirely. Instead you have to pick properties you would like to win. Answer all the questions on a variety of subjects in the round to bank the points. Get over the number of points and you enter the end game, which you’re nigh on guaranteed to win a prize.

You can also enter a “shop”, which gives you the chance to exchange points accumulated up to that point for properties, tokens (which give you perks) and extra passes and try agains, and there’s a couple of skill games.

In short, it’s quite a fun quiz game, and probably my favourite quiz based quiz machine game. It is fairly easy to win something, though does have a habit of throwing up “Hotel & House” repairs towards the end, which is a bit screwy, but not irrecoverable from. The fact that this screwy feature exists knocks it down from second to third.

2. Eliminator

This game is quite fast, but quite easy to win a pound or two on. The game features a 16 square grid, with 8 right answers to a question, and 8 wrong answers. You need to find all 8 correct answers. This game does have a habit of throwing up some nasty rounds early on (one in particular is “Find 8 Cigarette Brands”, as somebody who has smoked a grand total of one cigarette and one cigar in his life, it’s tough!), but overall they are pretty fair.

What’s nice about this game is that the random, but welcome, feature that after the end of rounds, your lives and assists (“Eliminator” which eliminates 2-3 wrong answers, and “Find 1” which finds one correct answer) are refilled, which is always handy when the random difficult question shows up.

The only thing that lets this game down is the speed of it. For 50p, you are probably getting a minute or two of game time. It’s frantic, particularly with the timer which speeds up at later levels, it could do with being a bit slower I think, but overall my usual #2 choice if #1 isn’t on the list.


1. Pints Win Prizes (ideally, the second edition, but the third is fine as well)

And lo, the best quiz machine game, in the world, ever is Pints Win Prizes. This game has a £10 jackpot, and is your basic hangman game. To win the game, each puzzle gets you a pre-determined amount of beer into a pint glass (or, if you have a “Happy Hour”, a small amount in each pint glass). Collect 10 pints to win the jackpot, but various prizes are available for complete pints (starting from 4 pints). Bonuses are the usual bonuses you get with hangman games (Pass, Extra Letters, Complete Phrase, Extra Vowels and Eliminator), and you get 6 lives. You can also “Pull The Barmaid”, which will get you 3 pints straight off.

In short, it’s fairly straightforward to get decent wins, and also really good fun. The diverse range of categories means most rounds have at least one category that you’ll like.

If you can find the second version of the game (green bar, rather than blue), then play that. It has far fewer categories than the third one, and doesn’t have as quite a difficult bonus round when it wants you off the machine.

When Theme & Plugin Developers Work Together – Everyone Wins

So a blog post that has been doing the rounds in the WordPress Community has been “Do not buy WordPress themes that bundle premium plugins” by Coen Jacobs from WooThemes. In it it is a exasperation of the arms race experienced by many plugin developers when dealing with some theme developers, who are happy to include premium plugins in their theme.

As introduced in the post, one of the issues of including plugin functionality in themes is that you increase the load time and – in the desperate attempt to be all things to all men – you actually end up bloating your site with features you cannot replicate or don’t need. For example, you may notice this blog running slightly faster over the last few days. This is largely due to removing one plugin that was a legacy from the previous design, who’s functionality is no longer needed. Imagine if that was buried deep within a theme? It would take me as an experienced coder a while to remove the code, and a less experienced individual would probably just be stuck with the functionality.

It has gotten so bad now that at 3 Door Digital we now try to avoid buying themes, as wrestling with them to get them working takes longer than say using Underscores or Peadig to design from scratch.

The Premium issue is a problem, and is something that it took me a while to figure out a solution with WP Email Capture as with WordPress, all derivative code needs to be GPL compatible (which, in my case, it is). It’s something I’ve dealt with a couple of times as theme developers bundled the premium versions of my plugins with their theme, promising extra functionality. When you buy a premium plugin, you don’t just buy the plugin code, you also usually buy access to support and updates, which people can remove should they desire (Gravity Forms – for example – is a GPL plugin but has a solid TOS. I’m speaking with somebody now to get a similar for WP Email Capture). Whilst GPL developers generally are quite a helpful bunch, if you stop them feeding their kids (or in my case, my Pie & Pringle addiction) then – if you knowingly buy a theme with premium plugins attached – you should be able to understand that they may not be so willing to help if things go wrong.

Unfortunately, customers are often caught in the middle of this, and suffer the headache when they are stuck between a plugin developer who has no record of the premium customer, and a theme developer who doesn’t have a clue what they’ve packaged with their theme. The worst case scenario has been for me when a customer used a cracked version of a premium theme (that injected footer links) that was bundled with a cracked version of my premium plugin (that emailed every signup that ever signed up to a dodgy email address). This hack broke when the plugin owner tried to remove the footer links. Of course, both the theme developer and myself were unable to support it, and in the end we gave a copy of our plugin and theme, unhacked, for free.

I should add that I do have great working relationships with some top notch theme designers. Jake Caputo of Design Crumbs has been absolutely crucial in making my plugins more friendly to designers (you should check out his themes by the way), and my top affiliate has just topped three figures in commission last month alone (on top of his theme sales), so it can be rewarding working when plugin and theme designers work together.

So please do it! It’s been a negative rant, but if it means that more theme designers and plugin developers working on ways of complementing their products, rather than stepping on each others toes, then the community and customers will all benefit.

Three Video Games I Would Like On Kickstarter

No word of a lie, Kickstarter is fucking dangerous.

If I’m browsing late at night, drunk, I find myself channelling my inner Peter Jones from Dragon’s Den and investing in projects. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the projects I invest in, though it usually depends if I like the concept. For example: a movie about being Ginger? Have a tenner! A film about Nigel McGuinness, one of the greatest wrestlers to ever grace these shores? Here’s 50 notes! Hell a game about random games for the Android? Here you go! Here’s a fiver, let me have a copy!

But the main target of my “investment” are retro franchises that are seeking a new lease of life. Carmageddon was probably the most famous one to get funded, but I’ve contributed to reboots of Elite and Dizzy (the latter didn’t get funded in the end, though ironically one game that remained faithful to the franchise, Spud’s Quest, did). I’ve even did a wee jump for joy when I got a preview of the coffee table book based on artwork from Sensible Software through the post a few weeks ago.

With that said, here’s my three games that – as a seasoned Kickstarter investor – if they ever opened up for funding, I would throw much hard earned cash at.

I’ve tried to keep this list at least reasonable. These three games are games that haven’t had any new games since the PS1/Saturn/N64 era. I’m also trying not to focus on too well known franchises, or games that you can easily play now (basically: Theme Hospital and the Monkey Island series).

Also I’m looking at games that seem viable for consoles, and whose licences aren’t owned by notable dickheads in the industry (so yes, that rules out Killer Instinct – but seriously Rare & Nintendo should patch up their differences to get Killer Instinct 3 out. The public demands it). Finally, I’m trying to get focus on games that would run particularly well on the Xbox Live, PSN and below. So a remake of Final Fantasy 7 with full HD graphics and be on 85 Blu-Rays are out of the question.


Street Racer

Right, let’s get one thing straight: Street Racer was the best racing game bar none on the Super Nintendo. Yes, that includes Mario Kart.

Mario Kart is a franchise that in my opinion has improved. The Wii version was absolutely superb, and had a lot of time for the Gamecube version. When people shake their head and say “don’t you like the SNES version? It’s an all time classic!”, I answer “it is, but it is so overshadowed by Street Racer”.

Street Racer is a game similar to Mario Kart. You have a choice of eight characters, each with their own special moves. Without a franchise behind them, the characters were creative and pulled from public fiction. Frank, for example, was a Frankenstein monster, and Suzulu was an African tribal prince. Each driver had their own special moves such as Persian’s prince Hodja’s car becoming a magic carpet, and Raphael’s Ferrari’s horn startling competitors. Pickups were limited to repair kits and nitro boosts, but that aided the game as you relied on skill, rather than the luck of picking up a good item.

In short, there was also no blue shells.

The game managed to balance difficulty without being too affected by rubber banding that plagued Mario Kart. In fact, pulling away and lapping back markers scored you more points, as well as fastest laps and punching people. It may have been more beneficial to scrap it out amongst the pack, rather than race to a multi lap lead. Add on the Royal Rumble mode and a Football game, then you have the greatest racing game on the Super Nintendo.

The series saw a game come out on the Sega Saturn and Playstation, but no other game was to follow. It’s crying out for a Street Racer 2.

Xbox and Playstation struggling with carting games, as Mario Kart has it tied up on the Wii. Even Sonic All Star Racing, whilst good, didn’t quite feel the same. I feel that a Kickstarter project for a new Street Racer game, with added characters, game modes and tracks could really add to the franchise. Furthermore, it can introduce new people to probably one of the greatest racing games ever. The fact there hasn’t been a new game is obscene. Get it done!


The Detective Game

A bit of an unknown quantity game, that – if released – could kickstart a genre. The Detective Game was released midway through the Commodore 64’s lifespan, and you played a detective who has to solve a murder in a mansion. The suspects are all in the mansion, and one of them is the murderer, and you have two hours to solve the murder before you are murdered yourself. Also on the hit list are various people in the house.

The reason I love this game so much is the atmosphere. Game designer Sam Manthorpe managed to recreate the atmosphere of a murder mystery on such a limited space, it is an adventure game first and foremost, but due to the story and everything that goes on, you could argue that it is the first ever survival horror game, released a decade before Resident Evil.

The reason why it divides so many people is the difficulty level. It is a simulation of a detective game, and as such you have very few clues to work on. Evidence is marked with an “E”, however four pieces of evidence aren’t. Lateral thinking is needed throughout the game, but even that is enough – there are secret passages that need to be found in the game, and if you miss an item in a room that is later locked, then you will not be able to complete the game. You aren’t given any warning on this, except your death two hours later.

It is tough, but it is well worth playing and persevering with, as the game’s story and conclusion is superb. A kickstarter reboot with maybe an assistant to bounce ideas off (or even a two player option?), as well as DLC featuring new storylines, would be well received.



Out of all the games I’ve talked about, I think this one is the most realistic, not only due to it’s original popularity, but it’s licence is fairly easy to obtain – which can help it.

Paradroid is an Andrew Braybrook classic for the C64. You are on a spaceship as a weak, 001 series droid, and you have to take back the spaceship that is crawling with robots that have run amok. To do this, it’s largely a top down shooter, however you can also obtain control of other robots to take them over. This is done in a mini game, which, if successful, you get control of the robot. If you are unsuccessful though, you end up back as your 001 series, and – if unsuccessful again – you are killed.

The stronger robots have the highest numbers, however the time you can control them are limited, with 999 series robots being few & far between. Also it’s far harder for a 001 series to capture a 999 series, than it is to capture a lower series. Strategy is needed to work your way upto the stronger robots, and use them to take out the difficult floors.

The spaceship you play on is huge (I believe there were a fair few of them in the game), and the gameplay was solid, and borderline atmospheric. The game had an almost encyclopaedic level of data on the robots.

There should be a reboot of this game. The game’s licence is fairly easy to get hold of, as Paradroid (and other Braybrook games such as Uridium and Alley Kat), have been on the Nintendo Virtual Console and are usually on those 10-in-1 joysticks you get. I’m not sure on sales figures, but it is one of the most well remembered C64 games out there. A reboot (even just a graphical reboot) would be welcomed by the community.

Anyway, these are my three picks for franchises for video games that should be rebooted, what do you want to see rebooted?